Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication May-June 2017

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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Page 59 of 76

inside them just waiting to go into a machine. Keep in mind that large particles that enter a sump will eventually be made into smaller particles, which will have detri- mental effects on the machine. Galvanized pails have a coating of zinc to protect the steel. The problem with this zinc coating is that the additives in the oil formulation will attach themselves to it and get stripped from the oil before entering the reservoir, decreasing the percentage of beneficial additives in the oil. Abuse of Sealable and Reusable Containers If handled correctly, a sealable and reus- able (S&R) container is great for transferring oil and topping up equipment. However, problems can occur if the containers are not labeled or cleaned, left in the field next to equipment, or have spouts that are not kept closed. Cleaning Before Filling This will largely depend on the individual who is adding the oil. With small reservoirs, it often is not economical to add quick connects as a means to fill and drain the system. Removing a fill plug or breather may be the only way to get oil back into the system. Unless you have an air-tight production facility with excellent filtration, debris will settle on and around fill ports and be ready to introduce itself once the ports are opened. Dirty Oil There's a misconception that new oil is clean oil. This isn't always the case. Gener- ally, oil that is received in drums, pails and bulk tanks should not go straight into your equipment. After sampling multiple drums of new oil deliveries over the years, I've found that a barrel of oil that meets the equipment's cleanliness targets is like finding a unicorn. Occasionally, a delivery may come in that meets the specifications, but you should always filter the oil before any top-up or fill is performed. Fill It and Forget It Too often I've seen a piece of equipment be put into operation and never be looked at or thought about again. Simple daily or weekly inspections should be performed on any valued asset. Over time, seals can begin to wear and leak. A plug may not have been tightened properly or has become loose. Small bath systems depend on the oil level being correct. Good Practices Now let's address the bad practices outlined previously by explaining how to correct them. Some are fairly straightfor- ward, while others will require an investment of time, money and training. Funnels I don't think all funnels are bad. They have their place. I personally use a funnel every time I change the oil in my vehicles. But what are the best practices for using a funnel? First, make sure it's clean before using it. Clean the inside and outside with a lint-free cloth. After using the funnel, clean it again and store it in a new zip-lock bag, which should then be sealed and put in its permanent spot. This is important. I swear my wife and I play this game at our house where I take the scissors out of one drawer and place them in another drawer after I'm done using them. This causes her to search for them or ask me where I put the scissors. If you apply this to an industrial setting where multiple people have access to the tools, you would never be able to predict where the funnels would be. This typically leads to someone grabbing a funnel or something else that is unfit for use. Open and Galvanized Containers Quit using these containers. Do an inventory check and throw all of them away. Purchase enough S&R containers to get your team accustomed to using them. If the right tools are readily available, good prac- tices will follow. Also, train the individuals who handle lubricants so they know not to use bad practices. Abuse of Sealable and Reusable Containers These containers should not be left lying around the plant. If a container is not where it's supposed to be, it will be of no use to the next person who needs it. Put a PM in place to thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the containers. This should be done inside a clean room to prevent contamination from entering the newly cleaned container. Just as with funnels, use a lint-free cloth to help with cleaning. Cleaning Before Filling Bring rags or wipes with you to the field to aid in cleaning fill ports before opening them. Even a little dirt entering the system can lead to catastrophic results. Having a supply of rags or wipes with you will help make those quick level inspections more reliable. Dirty Oil All oil entering the facility should go through a decontamination process before 58% of lubrication professionals say they do not regularly inspect smaller pieces of equipment, based on a recent survey at It doesn't take much fluctu- ation of the oil level in most small reservoirs to start seeing a negative impact on the internal components.

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